It’s October, so it’s time to bust out the pumpkin literacy!
I love this time of year because it gives me so many ideas for learning with a fall twist. Almost all of my play and center ideas are super frugal and done with things you probably already have around the house or can get inexpensively. These ideas are also easy to put together and can be taken out quickly for play and learning. I made them with my kindergartener in mind. But, they would work great for preschoolers and older kids too. We try to play as much as possible at our house so these activities keep that in mind.
Here’s what our pumpkin literacy centers look like this October.
Pumpkin Patch Sight Words Game:
We’re learning our sight words over here this month. So, I made up a set of printable pumpkin sight words. Because, sight words can be… well, boring. But pumpkins, are cute and orange and fun.
For this game, you print and cut out sight word cards or just write some down on squares of paper. Then, shuffle them and place them face down next to the pumpkin patch game board. Take turns rolling and drawing sight words. If your child knows the word they move the number of spaces they rolled. If not, they stay where they are and wait for the next turn.
This wasn’t quite a fair match for my daughter when playing with me or her dad, so to even it up we made some of our own rules. We decided to let her draw all the cards, but when it was our turn we couldn’t see our word, just the first letter and then we had to guess what word it was. This really had her giggling at us as we tried to figure it out.
I also made a printable pumpkin alphabet to use with this game. Rules are the same you just pick a letter from the pile instead and your child works on letter recognition instead of sight words.
You can grab the pumpkin alphabet, sight word cards, and game board in our subscriber free resource library by signing up below.
Pumpkin Patch Wall of Fame:
We are also working on a pumpkin patch “wall of fame” to retire our pumpkin sight words to, once my daughter has learned them. I hope it will be motivating for her as she looks at it during the day and sees how many words she’s learning.
To make our wall, I’m taping some brown paper together. Then I’m going to let my daughter add some fall artwork to the front, like a scarecrow and some corn stalks. I also plan on adding some green tendrils between the pumpkins by curling up some green paper or drawing them on once we get a few words taped up there.
Pumpkin Sensory Bin:
When I was buying rice the other day I noticed that the bags of dried beans and lentils we’re perfect for some fall play. I picked up bags of black beans, red (they look orange) lentils, and split peas to use as dirt, pumpkins, and vines in a sensory bin.
I put a piece of construction paper in front of the cookie sheet that we used for our beans and I wrote the word pumpkin on it with marker and Bananagrams. The first “p” is drawn on with marker because my daughter’s been making alphabet soup with the tiles lately and I could only find one. What can you do? I can’t be mad at alphabet soup.
While she played with the beans she read the letters, and mixed more Bananagrams into the beans. It wasn’t measurably productive as far as literacy goes, but she did play with those beans for hours. So, for me a happy engaged kiddo = successful activity. It also helps with homeschooling multiple ages, the sensory learning bin keeps my kindergartener entertained if I need to be occupied elsewhere.
After that initial play time with the pumpkin sensory bin I wanted to expose her to some more pumpkin themed words while she played. So, I made a big pumpkin out of some great textured cardstock we got on sale this summer. I asked my daughter to help me think of pumpkin words to write on it. We came up with words like, farm, harvest, pie, orange, gourd, vine, seeds, and a few others. I put it on the wall near where she plays with the sensory bin, so she can look at the pumpkin themed words while she plays.
Pumpkin Sensory Writing Tray:
For this we used the beans again, but I put some of our sight words next to the tray and some colorful straws. The straws were a fun idea, but using her finger ultimately worked better to push the beans out of the way. She traced the words and repeated the letters as she wrote. She’s an auditory learner so she usually repeats things like this out loud without any prompting. But, I think it would benefit any child to say the letters out loud as they spell, no matter their learning style. The more senses engaged the better.
I hope you and your kiddos have fun with these pumpkin literacy ideas.
What kinds of literacy play are you doing this fall?